Teachers in Cobb Schools returned to the classroom Wednesday to kick off planning for the new school year. Three of those teachers got the surprise of their lives when Superintendent Chris Ragsdale named them the Cobb County School District Teachers of the Year for Elementary, Middle, and High. Cobb’s Teachers of the Year include Cindy Wadsworth, Kemp Elementary School; Casey Taylor, Pine Mountain Middle School; and Hilary Minich, Lassiter High School.
“This is my favorite time of the year,” said Superintendent Ragsdale. “It’s an honor to be able to recognize our top teachers for the tremendous work they do to support our students and encourage our team members. Surprising the Teachers of the Year and seeing their fellow educators celebrate with them is always an awesome way to kick off a new school year. Congratulations!”
The Cobb Teachers of the Year have 42 years of combined experience in the classroom.
Cobb’s Elementary TOTY Focuses on Her Impact on Students
Cindy Wadsworth, the Cobb Elementary Teacher of the Year, is a 21-year veteran teacher who loves school and her job at Kemp Elementary School.
“When July rolls around, and I go back into my school for the first time after the summer break, I get those same feelings of excitement that I’ve had every year since kindergarten. I can’t sleep because I’m super excited to start all over again,” the third-grade teacher revealed.
Wadsworth sees her success reflected in the students she has built relationships with and the students she helped teach that school is a wonderful and magical place filled with amazing learning opportunities.
“I think we are in a very lucky profession. I feel like all of us, especially here at Kemp, wake up every morning and we actually love our job. To me, it has never really been a job. It has always been something that I’m super excited for every day,” explained the Cobb Elementary Teacher of the Year.
Relationships—The Key to Success for Cobb’s Middle School TOTY
“I hope that I get to grow and learn to be more like you,” Casey Taylor said pointing at her fellow educators in the audience after she was named Cobb’s Middle School TOTY.
As a social studies teacher with 5 years of teaching experience, Taylor looks to her fellow teachers as mentors, modeling after them to help become an even better teacher.
“Teacher-to-teacher relationships have been key to my growth and development into an effective teacher. I’m also proud of the relationships that I make with my students,” the Pine Mountain TOTY added.
Taylor also credited her family, who joined in on the surprise TOTY announcement, for pushing her and supporting her.
“My mom has been one of the best teachers in my life,” she said.
She aims to do the same for her students.
“The most important thing I want my students to understand is that learning never ends and they must make a plan for their life,” Taylor said.
Cobb’s High School TOTY: Teaching is the Best Job in the World
For Hilary Minich, teaching is a family affair. Her husband Chris teaches with her at Lassiter High School. Her mother Hilda Wilkins, who she describes as the most influential factor in her decision to become a teacher, taught English at Walton High School just as she teaches English at Lassiter.
“I think we all feel like we have the best job in the world because we get to have a direct impact on the future,” Minich declared. “I love that! I feel that our job has such meaning. I feel really fortunate and blessed. It’s amazing!”
The 16-year veteran teacher follows these rules in her classroom: set the bar high, respect all students, and make learning engaging.
Like the other Teachers of the Year, Minich was a little overwhelmed after the surprise announcement by the Superintendent in the middle of a pre-planning meeting.
Superintendent Ragsdale surprised the Teachers of the Year again when he revealed that each one would have the opportunity to pick out a new car to drive free for a year thanks to Ed Voyles Automotive Group. During the Teacher of the Year Pep Rally in October, the three teachers will find out which brand of car they will choose from on an Ed Voyles lot.
Before the pep rally and before the three TOTY get the keys to their new cars, Superintendent Ragsdale will announce the Cobb County School District Teacher of the Year who will go on to compete at the state level.
Who will be named Cobb’s Top Teacher? The announcement is around the corner.